Los Angeles! Come see me at Exposition Park library this Thursday, talking about Big Tech, monopolies, mind control and the right of technological self-determination

From 6PM-730PM this Thursday, May 23, I'm presenting at the Exposition Park Library (Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library, 3900 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90062) on the problems of Big Tech and how the problems of monopolization (in tech and every other industry) is supercharged by the commercial surveillance industry -- and what we can do about it. It's part of the LA Public Library's "Book to Action" program and it's free to attend -- I hope to see you there!
Tags: Post, Antitrust, Big Tech, Book To Action, Events, Happy Mutants, Libraries, Los Angeles, Monopolies, Monopolism, Privacy, Science Fiction, Surveillance, Trustbusting

Mary Robinette Kowal wins Best Novel Nebula; prizes for Aliette de Bodard, Brooke Bolander, Phenderson Djèlí Clark, Charlie Brooker, Spider-Verse, Tomi Adeyemi, William Gibson, Neil Clarke and Nisi Shawl

The 2019 Nebula Awards were announced and presented last night in Los Angeles: the prize for best novel went to Mary Robinette Kowal (previously for The Calculating Stars. The award-winners from last night were: Best Novella: Aliette de Bodard, The Tea Master and the Detective (Subterranean) Best Novelette: Brooke Bolander, The Only Harmless Great Thing, ( Best Short Story: Phenderson Djèlí Clark, The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington, (Fireside 2/18) Th...
Tags: Post, Nebula Awards, Science Fiction, The Calculating Stars

Bernie Sanders' "Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education" will desegregate schools, defund charters, pay teachers, end the school-to-prison pipeline

Bernie Sanders has released A Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education, a detailed and bold suite of public education reforms reminiscent of the kinds of policy planks being laid down regularly by rival candidate Elizabeth Warren (I'm a donor to both Sanders' and Warren's campaigns). The plan -- a pun on the Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe after WWII -- is also a tribute to Thurgood Marshall, the attorney who successfully argued for school desegregation in the landmark Brown v Board ...
Tags: Post, Redfored, 2020 Election, Ada, Bernie Sanders, Democrats, Disabilities, Education, Happy Mutants, LGBTQ, New Jim Crow, Race, School To Prison Pipeline

Judge recuses himself from health insurance cancer-denial case because he considers the company "immoral" and "barbaric"

US District Judge Robert N Scola recused himself from a class action suit against Unitedhealthcare that alleges that Unitedhealthcare denied them promising proton beam cancer treatments by falsely claiming that they were "experimental." In his recusal, Scola revealed that he was a prostate cancer survivor who was cornered into accepting surgical prostate removal because his own insurer refused the proton beam treatments his doctors recommended; he also discussed a friend whom Unitedhealthca...
Tags: Post, Aca, Health Care, Medicare For All, Proton Beam Therapy, Radicalized, Unitedhealthcare

Wil Wheaton's "Dead Trees Give No Shelter": terrifying tale, beautifully told

Wil Wheaton's 2017 standalone novelette Dead Trees Give No Shelter is a beautiful, spooky horror story in the vein of Stranger Things, following Jay Turner as he returns to the small Ohio town where his baby brother was murdered, 20 years before, to witness the execution of his killer. But Jay's homecoming starts to recover long-buried fragments of what really happened to his brother all those years ago. What follows has shades of classic Stephen King like IT and (of course) The Body, but a...
Tags: Post, Audiobooks, Books, Happy Mutants, Horror, Spoken Word, Wil Wheaton

These fold-out tote bags make eco-friendly shopping a breeze

Kudos to those of us who have chosen a less wasteful third option to "paper or plastic" at the supermarket or club stores. Tote bags are reusable, but they can be a pain to tote around. Here's an upgrade to that planet-saving measure. The Club Cart Lotus Trolley Bag is that rare tote you'll want to use again, making it easier to load and unload groceries while also keeping them cold. The main innovation here is a rack that spreads out across your shopping cart, allowing you to unfold and keep th...
Tags: Post, Shop

Morrissey cover of Jobriath's "Morning Starship" is good, actually

P.S. Billy Joel is Jobriath for heterosexuals.
Tags: Video

Apple removed a teen's award-winning anti-Trump game "Bad Hombre" because they can't tell the difference between apps that criticize racism and racist apps

Bad Hombre is an award-winning satirical game created by 16-year-old Jackie George. Two days after it won the Shortly Award and was recognized in her school newsletter, Bad Hombre was removed from both Apple's App Store and Google Play (George notes that her town of Naples, FL is very conservative with a lot of Trump supporters and is suspicious that one of her neighbors reported the app). George appealed the removal and Google quickly reinstated the app, but Apple refused to do so. Instead...
Tags: Post, App Stores, Apple, Apps, Crystal Prisons, Games, Ios, Kids, Platform Censorship, STEM, Trump, Trumpism

Pangea raised $180m to buy up low-rent Chicago properties "to help poor people," and then created the most brutally efficient eviction mill in Chicago history

Pangea was founded by Al Goldstein, a Deutsche Bank investment banker who quit to found a massive, intercontinental payday lending outfit; he tapped the investors that he enriched with his payday lending business to stake him $180 million and bought up thousands of low-rent buildings in Chicago's poorest neighborhoods (which are also Chicago's blackest neighborhoods). Pangea took over buildings (some of them derelict and abandoned or squatted) and renovated them, and rented them out, becomi...
Tags: Post, Business, Chicago, Eviction Epidemic, Evictions, Guillotine Watch, Law, Pangea, Payday Lenders, The Rent Is Too Damned High, Urban Theory, War on the poor, Weaponized Shelter

Sleuthing from public sources to figure out how the Hateful Eight leaker was caught

In 2014, Quentin Tarantino sued Gawker for publishing a link to a leaked pre-release screener of his movie "The Hateful Eight." The ensuing court-case revealed that the screeners Tarantino's company had released had some forensic "traitor tracing" features to enable them to track down the identities of people who leaked copies. Working from court records, as well as documents from the North Korea/Sony hack, a patent lawsuit against Tarantino's forensics company, and the forensic company's o...
Tags: Post, Computer Science, Copyfight, Counterforensics, Forensics, Happy Mutants, Hateful Eight, Infosec, Law, North Korea, Patents, Security, Sony hack, Traitor Tracing, Watermarks, Wikileaks

AOC grills pharma exec about why the HIV-prevention drug Prep costs $8 in Australia costs $1,780 in the USA

Gilead makes a drug called Truvada -- AKA Prep -- that was developed at US taxpayer expense, whose patents are held by the US government; Truvada is on track to eliminating the spread of HIV forever (people who are HIV positive but take Truvada are seemingly not infectious), but taking Truvada in the USA (where the patents haven't expired) is incredibly expensive, running $1,780/month, whereas in Australia, it's available as a generic for $8/month. If the widespread use of Prep eliminates t...
Tags: Post, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Aoc, Daniel O'day, Gilead, Guillotine Watch, Late Stage Capitalism, Looters, Pharma, Prep, Truvada

Pay what you want for over 120 hours of coding training

Looking for a career in IT, gaming or software development? In the ever-changing world of the internet, versatility is your biggest asset. In other words, mastering Java might not cut it in an interview if you don't know C#. However, there's a bundle that covers the essentials in most any language. The Legendary Learn to Code Bundle is a roundup of 13 online courses, each one focused on a different coding platform and its primary uses - and those uses cover nearly every aspect of the internet, f...
Tags: Post, Shop

Elizabeth Warren proposes legislation to enshrine Roe v Wade in Federal law and guarantee reproductive health care in all insurance plans

After a blizzard of state-level Republican attacks on the right of women to choose whether to carry a fetus to term, Elizabeth Warren has added another plank to her campaign platform: Congressional Action to Protect Choice, a four-point plan to rescue reproductive rights from religious extremists and misogynists. Warren's plan would enshrine the rights established in the Supreme Court's Roe vs Wade ruling in federal law, prohibit states from taking measures to undermine these rights, requir...
Tags: Post, Gender, News, Supreme Court, Elizabeth Warren, America, Choice, Abortion, Warren, Reproductive Rights, Trump, Wade, Roe, Tim Pierce, Elizabeth Warren Medium, YouKnowMe

Onion editor regrets portraying Joe Biden as skeevy yet loveable uncle

For years it was one of the most lighty-amusing running jokes in memedom: The Onion's ongoing series of stories about then-VP Joe Biden, portraying him as Diamond Joe, everyone's favorite lewd but obviously harmless shirtless uncle. The editor behind the series regrets it and feels responsible for helping one of the most conspicuously moronic Democrat candidates seem electable despite repeated runs at high office that ended in disgrace and failure. The handsome guy who’s got it good but doesn’t ...
Tags: Post, News, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Reddit, Biden

Europe's top trustbuster thinks it'll be impossible to break up Facebook

Margrethe Vestager (previously) is the EU Commissioner responsible for handing out billions in fines to Big Tech to punish them for monopolistic practices. Vestager and I both appeared on the bill at Republica in Berlin this month, and at the time, I pressed her from the audience on whether she thought that the ultimate answer to monopolistic abuses was to break up monopolies. She was incredibly skeptical that such a thing was desirable (describing state intervention in the deployment of "p...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Europe, Post, News, Berlin, Eu, Competition, Paris, Antitrust, Margrethe Vestager, Vestager, Tim Wu, Big Tech, República, Vivatech

Techdirt settles lawsuit with the "I invented email" guy

In 2017, an engineer and entrepreneur sued Techdirt for criticising his claim to have invented email. Though a district court soon dismissed the lawsuit on First Amendment grounds, appeals and wrangling over lawyers' fees continued. The case finally settled this month, Techdirt reports: article stays up, no money changes hands. It's a win for Techdirt and journalism, as all he got was a link to a response he could have added himself by signing up for a free commenting account. But that was the p...
Tags: Post, News, Email, Law, Mike Masnick, Techdirt

Lou Rawls sings about why you should take your blood pressure medication (1970s)

In the 1970s, the great R&B singer and actor Lou Rawls urged everyone to take their high blood pressure medication. "Do it for them." A public service announcement from the Ad Council.
Tags: Video, Music, News, Blood Pressure, Psas, 1970s, Lou Rawls

These are the "biggest onscreen mistakes" in Game of Thrones

Nit pickers rejoice: Revisit the infamous coffee cup from this season, rubber swords, and other goofs and gaffs in Westeros.
Tags: Video, Television, News, Got, Bloopers

How can spies from democracies compete with spies from autocracies?

Economist international editor Edward Lucas devotes 4,000+ words in the new issue of Foreign Policy to the changing landscape of state espionage in the 21st century; it's not particularly well-organized (if there's a reason for the order in which his thoughts are laid out, I couldn't find it), but despite that, it's well worth a read, even if there's lots I don't agree with here. Lucas's main question is whether autocracies are going to win the surveillance race, especially in the face of i...
Tags: Video, London, News, Privacy, Putin, Washington, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Surveillance, Britain, United States, United Kingdom, New York Times, Cia, Lucas, Lawful Interception

Bizarre family selfie in which half of man's body has vanished

Reddit user BeardoGREG shared this unusual selfie of his family. I was mightily confused until one commenter explained it: "You were shot out of a cannon. The cannon is behind you and you are flying straight into the camera with that determined look on your face." (r/confusing_perspective)
Tags: Photos, Post, Photography, News, Weird, Reddit, Perspective, Illusions

The world's preeminent cryptographers can't get visas to speak at US conferences

Ross Anderson (previously) is one of the world's top cryptographers; the British academic and practitioner was honored by having his classic, Security Engineering, inducted into The Cybersecurity Canon; however, he was not able to attend the awards gala himself because the US government sat on his visa application for months, and ultimately did not grant it in time. Anderson's not the only one: Israeli cryptography legend Adi Shamir (he's the "S" in "RSA") could not get a visa to visit the ...
Tags: Video, Usa, UK, News, Israel, US, Cryptography, Scholarship, Rsa, Mathematics, Anderson, Ukpoli, Shamir, Ross Anderson, Xenophobia, Adi Shamir

Watch this drone dodge soccer balls hurled at it

Researchers from the University of Zurich's Robotics and Perception Group designed an event camera system for drones. In the video above, the fun starts at 1:25. As explained by IEEE Spectrum, "These are sensors that are not good at interpreting a scene visually like a regular camera, but they’re extremely sensitive to motion, responding to changes in a scene on a per-pixel basis in microseconds. A regular camera that detects motion by comparing one frame with another takes milliseconds to do t...
Tags: Video, News, Cameras, Drones, Perception, Robotics, Computer Vision, University of Zurich s Robotics

Cold War Soviet gas masks available on Amazon

For just $15, you can have your own GP-5 Original Soviet Civilian Protective Gas Mask. The seller reassures us that the standard issue asbestos filter has been replaced by activated charcoal. Shipping is free. From the product description: It is one of the most popular and truly reliable civilian gas masks produced in the Soviet Union from 1970 to 1989. The GP-5 was made famous for its apparent use in Chernobyl after the nuclear disaster. It can operate in all weather and withstand temperatur...
Tags: Amazon, Post, News, Nbc, Cold War, Ussr, Chernobyl, Soviet Union, Gas Masks, Apocalypse Soon, NBC Nuclear Biological

'John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum' opens today

I rarely look forward to movies that do not have Star Wars in the title. John Wick, however, is the story of a man's love for his puppy, and a classic American muscle car. I am totally on board.
Tags: Video, News, John Wick, Movie Releases, Ted "Theodore" Logan

This unique nonstick cookware heats evenly and resists scratching

Getting a set of cookware that will outlast you is one of those signs you've truly grown up. It used to be easy to find durable materials that also cook well, but these days it can be hard to tell what's quality and what brands are coasting by on a recognizable name. Well, there's at least one brand that's building their name the right way: After gaining attention from home chefs with their precision kitchen knives, Ausker has branched out into cookware - and so far, the results look just as sol...
Tags: Post, News, Shop, Scotch Brite, Ausker

Taiwan legalizes same-sex marriage

Two years ago, a Taiwan court ruled that its laws forbidding same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. Now legislators there voted to make it the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. The law goes into effect May 24. Although the island has a large gay community and its annual gay pride parade is the biggest in Asia, the issue of marriage equality has bitterly divided Taiwanese society. In a controversial referendum in November last year, 67% voted to reject same-sex marriage. In r...
Tags: Asia, Post, News, Taiwan, Equality, Gay Rights

Internet fraudster stole 750,000 IP addresses, say prosecutors

A Charleston man was charged with fraud this week [] after investigators unraveled an elaborate scheme to take control of IP addresses. More than 750,000 were snagged, reports the BBC, then sold on. The US Department of Justice claims that Mr Golestan "fraudulently" won control of the net addresses by using many different shell companies. It alleges that he created websites for fake companies and invented the names of the people who purportedly ran them as part of his scheme. Mr [Amir...
Tags: Post, Crime, News, US, Bbc, Fraud, Fbi, Charleston, US Department of Justice, Arin, Serious Business, Golestan, Amir -RSB- Golestan, American Registry of Internet Numbers Arin

Video of dam gate collapsing

The Lake Dunlap spillway suffered a catastrophic failure earlier this week, and it was all caught on camera: an old dam gate keeling over and allowing water to surge into the waterway beyond. But it's not even that big of a problem, apparently. They announced some voluntary water restrictions while they work on it. There isn't much more to the story. That's it. Well, what did you expect? Eight minutes of breathless narrative? Menacing music and scrapy metal sound effects crafting an aura of...
Tags: Post, Video, News, When Water Attacks, Lake Dunlap

Video captures F-16 crashing into California warehouse

After suffering hydraulic problems, an F-16 fighter jet crashed into a California warehouse Thursday. The pilot ejected safely and no-one on the ground was seriously harmed; a nearby driver captured the collision on video and a warehouse worker filmed the wreckage. "That's a military airplane, in our building!" says a man on the warehouse video (embedded below, NSFW language), uploaded by Ejler Bettenhausen and credited to Jeff Schoffstall. #BREAKING image from inside a warehouse near M...
Tags: Post, News, California, Mistakes, March Air Reserve Base, Rob McMillan, Ejler Bettenhausen, Jeff Schoffstall

Grumpy Cat dies

Tardar Sauce, a cat known to many as Grumpy Cat due to her distinctive facial expression and 2012 viral video success, died Tuesday due to complications of an infection. The BBC: Her image quickly spread as a meme. According to owner Tabitha Bundesen, her facial expression was caused by feline dwarfism and an underbite. Grumpy Cat travelled the world making television appearances and in 2014 even starred in her own Christmas film. Some days are grumpier than others...
Tags: Post, News, History, Bbc, Memes, Tardar Sauce, Tabitha Bundesen